Domesticated Sheep

Ovis aries

The sheep at Chew Valley are fun and spritely characters who were bottle-fed and raised here. Come meet and feed Jaffa, Bourbon, Custard, Oreo, Cookie, and Hobnob!

Species Information

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Sheep are found all around the world as they are farmed by humans. They can be found in a range of habitats, including grasslands, mountain forests, and even desert conditions.

Sheep are ruminants, meaning they have a four-chambered stomach. Sheep are well known for their crimped hair, also known as wool! The sheep’s wool coat can be a range of colours, including the classic pure white or black. The wool can also have different patterns, such as spotted or piebald, like a cow!

Sheep have a heightened sense which helps this prey species to detect predatory threats early. Their horizontal ‘rectangular’ pupils give sheep adept peripheral vision, with a visual field up to 320°. This again benefits predatory detection, as they are able to see movement coming from almost all angles without even turning their heads!

Sheep are herbivorous animals, mainly grazing on grasses. As ruminants, sheep partially digest their food in their rumen – the biggest stomach compartment – before regurgitating the food (AKA cud) to chew and swallow again.

10-12 years.

Sheep are social and extremely gregarious, exhibiting strong flocking behaviour. This flock mentality is a predatory protection adaption.

Sheep are polygynous, meaning a single male generally mates with a group of female. Some sheep breeds breed throughout the year, but most are seasonal breeders with lambs being born during early spring. Females usually give birth to a single lamb or twins after a gestation period of around 5 months.

Domesticated.

Sheep can not only recognise and remember other sheep’s faces, but they also recognise human faces!